"Best Sellers" Campaign for Strong School Libraries

The California School Library Association (CSLA) "Best Sellers" Campaign for Strong School Libraries enlists Californians of all ages to communicate the message that strong school libraries build strong students, increase student achievement.

Q: What is the California School Library Association (CSLA) "Best Sellers" Campaign?
A: The California School Library Association's "Best Sellers" Campaign for Strong School Libraries is a public awareness campaign, using a dedicated group of non-librarians to advocate for strong school libraries because library programs increase student success, regardless of the economic status of a school's community.

Q: Why did CSLA start the "Best Seller's" Campaign?
A: The public school library has become an endangered species of the California education system. The demise of California's school libraries is occurring at a time when technological change and research on academic achievement have underscored their critical importance. After all, 21st century learners need 21st century information and communication skills.

Q: The key message is "Strong school libraries build strong students. Strong school libraries improve student achievement/success, regardless of a community's economic status." What is a strong school library?
A: A strong school library has five key components: Staffing, its collection of print and non-print resources, technology, access, and instruction.

Q: What is the goal of the CSLA "Best Sellers" Campaign?
A: The campaign seeks to strengthen California's school library programs. It urges upgrading of California school libraries because research shows healthy school library programs are key to student academic achievement/success regardless of a community's economic status. The campaign also seeks to define the key elements of a strong school library so school communities can assess for themselves if their students have access to the right level of library resources for their students. Students deserve equitable access to library resources. For all California school libraries to become or stay strong, there is a need for state standards, enforcement of the standards, and on-going visibility.

Q Who are "Best Sellers"?
A: “Best Sellers” are Californians of all ages who have a passionate concern for children, literacy, and libraries as a significant force for making a difference. "Best Sellers" can be local, regional, or state-level leaders, authors, celebrities, philanthropists, parents, students -- you get the idea.

Q What do "Best Sellers" do?
A: CSLA "Best Sellers" promote the message that STRONG school libraries build strong students and lifelong learners. They also define or describe what makes up a strong school library, since many people do not know much about today's school libraries and the role they can play in preparing 21st Century learners. "Best Sellers" simply use their existing position or communication skills to advocate for strong school libraries. For example, a children's author who regularly visits schools could include a library advocacy message on their website, inside their books, on promotional literature about their books and school visits, and speaking engagements. An actor or other well-known celebrity could promote the strong school library message on presonal websites, facebook pages, and send a series of "tweets" from time to time. An investment manager could share the message with investors who invest in social responsibility portfolios. You get the idea. Get the word out in all ways. Knowledge is power.

Q: What can I do to ensure strong libraries in my community?
A: Stay informed, keep your school district leadership and parents informed. Use CSLA’s checklist of key school library program components and measurements. Ask to review your district library plan. Promote them and keep your library programs visible.

Q: What else is CSLA doing to promote strong school libraries? Does it offer professional development for its members?
A: CSLA offers professional development for its members primarily through its annual conference, regional workshops, and free online tutorials. Professional development tutorials include: School Library Learning 2.0 and Discovering Assistive Technology. CSLA also offers Classroom Learning 2.0 for Teacher Librarians to offer to classroom colleagues in order to introduce their school to 21st century teaching tools. Teacher Librarians support a school's students and teachers.

Q: What is the mission of the California School Library Association? Can anyone belong, including "Best Sellers"?
A: "Best Sellers" are welcome to join CSLA! We would love to meet all "Best Sellers", tell our stories, hear how they are advocating for strong school libraries and students. The California School Library Association is an organization of teacher librarians, classroom teachers, paraprofessionals, district and county coordinators of curriculum, media and technology specialists, and others committed to enriching student learning by building a better future for school libraries.